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1pwny
2014-07-31, 08:31 PM
This isn’t a fix.

This is just, for now, a listing of all the problems in D&D 3.X. The things that make it not work as well as it could. The intrinsic misfires in the creation of the game. The things that no amount of fixes could change.

I used books, manga and anime as a basis for what works. I still think my points are valid.

Alright! So, here are the problems I’ve decided are big and overarching enough to include. Remember, this is not a fix! This is just a listing of dysfunctionalities! Which for now only covers spells!


Spells:
We know that they’re unfair. We can see it in the numbers, the chances, the encounters and the scenarios. Its time we take a step back and look at why they are so unbalanced.

By looking at the Spell section of dndtools.eu, one can see how immensely huge the spell list is. Why is it so big?

The creators of D&D, at the beginning, said “Lets have magic; lets let the players have magic. Lets let them do whatever they want to do.”

So instead of making a system where a player designs a spell, they decided to try and “cover all bases.” So they started making spells, and never stopped. They imagined every scenario, and tried to account for it with a spell.

Let us now look at, for example, Naruto. In that series, instead of saying “What can we do,” they said “What can’t we do?” They created an open-ended system of justus, where basically an elemental effect could be replicated with enough effort. They then created some exceptions, where a few extraordinary people had outside-system skills.

Whether it was reanimation, teleportation, or mind control, only select people had access to the above-ordinary skills.

Another way of looking at it was that while there were a huge number of special techniques, only a few had access to any given one.

Meanwhile, in the meta-game or real-game of D&D, you practically have access to any spell, with the right amount of money.

Balance is always key. Especially in RPGs.

In Naruto, people have a set amount of chakra with which to use their techniques. That chakra is a combination of mental and physical energy. For example, Sakura (when she was a young teen obsessed with dieting) lacked the stamina to use jutsus, and thus had to conserve her chakra.

In D&D, your physical health has almost no relevance.

You could be the weakest person in your party, but with the right brainpower you could actually cast more spells than Mr. Bozo with Constitution 18. Because extra Spells per Day is based on your mental stats.

Same with Powers and Power Points. You get rewarded for having high intelligence, instead of high stamina. Which makes no sense in practical terms, though the ideas of powers and power points hits closer to the mark than Spells per Day.

BTW, in case you can’t tell, I made a pun with calling the problems server-side and client-side. Its parodying Internet problems.
When I say this, I’m talking about something very specific, which is why the spells don’t work fairly, and it boils down to two things.

Utility and Range.

I, at first, had put down “Power and Range” as the two things that it boils down to, put as I kept trying to write down the “Power” section, I came to realize that, while spells deal far too much damage, thats mostly a client-side problem, as I’ll explain later. I came to realize that the problem with D&D spells are Utility and Range.

Utility: Spells do too much. Really, this is a problem with the variety that any given spellcaster is allowed to choose from, but I’ll put it here anyway.

In Naruto, a genjutsu master has to preoccupy themselves while putting you into an illusion. They can’t attack at all. That’s for your teammates.

In Toriko, everyone has a single specialty. They can use that however they want, but Coco will never throw a Spiked Punch.

But in D&D, spellcasters are too versatile.

How else can you describe someone that can fly, while simultaneously casting an illusion on you, while simultaneously blinding and stunning you, while simultaneously throwing down meteors?

Even on a small scale, the fact that it takes 1 round of effort to stun somebody completely for enough rounds to kill is something that you will never see take place anywhere else. Usually

Range: Range is another big problem in D&D. No matter how good your archery, your range is almost never going to break 200 feet, and if it does, then 300 feet is an insurmountable goal. Meanwhile, a Caster - not even breaking out the metamagic - gets 400 + 40*CL range on many spells. That’s easily over 800 feet in range.

This problem can be related to the entire problem of mortal access to different planes. In Bleach, different dimensions exist. The Soul Society and Hueco Mundo (Bleach) are both examples of this. But, no matter one’s own ability to shift dimensions, no one ever forcibly made another change dimensions, and no one was able to create a fully functional copy of themselves in another dimension. Along the same lines, no one ever created their own plane, by themself, to their own specifications. The amount of abuse that causes is insane.

Spells have a few problems with how they are received, too.

Casting: Paired with Range (from server-side problems) is how spells are cast in D&D. In almost any other fantastical scenario, spells travel[. Let me explain this in greater detail:

In D&D, if somebody casts Fireball, a ball of flame immediately appears on the targeted area. There’s no flight path, and there’s no time to react. It just appears.

Anywhere else, if I want to throw a fireball at you, I probably aim with my hands, point at you, and then fire explodes outwards in your direction. This approach allows you to dodge, block, or counter much easier, and also circumvents some range problems. If you can see the spell coming at you, you’ll have a much easier time dodging.

Dodging: In D&D, you can’t dodge spells. If we take what is average for manga, anime and books as normal, then the entire “dodging” mechanism (if you call it that) in D&D is flawed.

Some spells allow for a Reflex save. Whoopie. We’re all happy now!

No.

I would argue that for any spell, you should have a chance of dodging. Reflex saves are, supposedly, a combination of physical agility, innate talent and battle-hardened experience.

In anime, excitable younger sisters that rush to glomp are easily the norm. And, in fact, many protags have developed the ability to dodge those siblings due to the sheer fact that over-exposure to surprise attacks has given them a type of sixth-sense.

This built-up sixth sense is not really present in D&D. And if it were, then you would see people sidestepping Lightning, ducking fire, deflecting ice shards and dodging force. And, if you look at high-level battles of Mundane vs. Magical from other sources, that’s exactly how it goes down.

Overpowering: All of us know that stereotype. That big, hulking dude that rushes straight through the wind wave and continues undeterred, because he is stronger than the spell itself. Ichigo, in one of the first chapters of Bleach, broke through a restricting spell with pure, physical power. Kenpachi Zaraki took one look at a meteor the size of a city, took out his sword, and cut through it in one swing. Because he can. And in D&D, he can’t.

Whether its slicing through a blast with a sword, or swiping aside a giant blade of energy, people in other fantasy setting with extreme physical attributes tend to be able to counter magical prowess with extreme physical prowess.

This isn’t present in D&D, and widens the gap between Mundanes and Casters.


Miscellaneous:

AC. Armor Class.

a.k.a The most stupid attempt at recreating a real-life concept.

Let’s take an example:

Some really, really good fighter attacks a guy in full plate, using a tower shield. His TAB (total attack bonus) beats the guy’s AC.

The attack does the same damage as it would without the armor.

Think about that.

Armor offers no damage reduction, and instead only works as a dodge-enhancer, strangely enough.

Thought that needed pointing out.

Feel free to offer comments, insight, or more basic problems you’ve found in the D&D system!

Carl
2014-07-31, 08:53 PM
I know i'm cherry picking point's but i wanted to respond to a couple:


Even on a small scale, the fact that it takes 1 round of effort to stun somebody completely for enough rounds to kill is something that you will never see take place anywhere else. Usually

The problem here isn't the spell that lets you stun. A stun from any melee character at a melee range amounts to the same thing if it lasts into the next round because your unable to act so they can coup-de-grace you if they have no allies nearby. Unless the target has an insane fort save and/or AC that's a one-hit kill.

The problem here is that there are way too many special conditions that amount to "don't get it or you die, just not until somone gets round to finishing you off in a few rounds".


In D&D, if somebody casts Fireball, a ball of flame immediately appears on the targeted area. There’s no flight path, and there’s no time to react. It just appears.

Anywhere else, if I want to throw a fireball at you, I probably aim with my hands, point at you, and then fire explodes outwards in your direction. This approach allows you to dodge, block, or counter much easier, and also circumvents some range problems. If you can see the spell coming at you, you’ll have a much easier time dodging.

What do you think the nigh typical reflex save represents? And why under this point don't arrows have a travel time.


Most of the games problems can be traced back to special condition effects, flight, and some faulty assumptions surrounding martial. This is your thread so i'm not going to go into any more than that here, but to me your so caught up in this idea that everything has to be limited to be balanced that you've lost sight of the actual root causes of what makes so many of the really deadly or broken spells, well, deadly/broken.

Pronounceable
2014-08-01, 07:06 AM
they decided to try and “cover all bases.” So they started making spells, and never stopped. They imagined every scenario, and tried to account for it with a spell
You could've just said this. That's the root of the problem right there, everything else is just an extension of it.

Same with Powers and Power Points. You get rewarded for having high intelligence, instead of high stamina. Which makes no sense in practical terms, though the ideas of powers and power points hits closer to the mark than Spells per Day.
The problem here is that you're trying to make sense of "magic" and are decrying DnD's. Magic could be standard Vancian, it could be limited by willpower/mana/material components/lifespan/etc, it could require very long and intricate rituals, it could unexpectedly happen spontaneously with no rhyme or reason, it could be the infinite power of the mind or it could be nanomachines. Vancian spellcasting is as valid as any other ideas about magic. Everything depends on execution and the only unsolvable problem of DnD magic is the omnipotency.

Armor Class
It's simple abstraction, as good as any other (and better than most). Don't worry too much what it means. The less numbers, the better. You can go nuts with damage reduction by armor, effects of different weapons against different armors, actual damage to body vs simple exhaustion of combat, lasting effects of injury, item durability and whatevs when you're designing a video game that'll do all the calculations for you. DnD's Armor Class and Hit Points are ubiquitious because they're simple and functional.

Same goes for basic d20+mod>DC=WIN mechanic. It's simple and useful so it persists, even where some sort of results table dependant on numeric difference would arguable be more "logical".
...
The "main" problems of DnD are design concepts: unlimited magic and ****tons of superfluous crap from the need to sell more books. First is too much of a sacred cow for the loudmouthed neckbeard fans of nerdwizard supremacy over jockfighters and second is the basic principle of capitalism. Neither of which can be fixed by WotC.

jqavins
2014-08-01, 11:32 AM
Well, Someone, it seems most of your specific complaints boil down to two. First and foremost, D&D magic doesn't work like your favorite manga and anime. Second, D&D magic doesn't make sense. On the other hand, you started off with more general statements about caster vs. martial balance.

OK, first, D&D isn't manga and it isn't anime and it's not supposed to be. I bet there's a Naruto RPG out there, and if there isn't then there's an oportunity for you create one. But D&D isn't it, and was never meant to be.

Second, magic never makes sense; that's why it's called magic. What makes sense is that nobody can throw fireballs or create elaborate illusions or fly or any of the stuff that magic lets some people do in D&D, manga, anime, movies, etc.

Magic could be standard Vancian, it could be limited by willpower/mana/material components/lifespan/etc, it could require very long and intricate rituals, it could unexpectedly happen spontaneously with no rhyme or reason, it could be the infinite power of the mind or it could be nanomachines. Vancian spellcasting is as valid as any other ideas about magic.
Here here.

The one thing you said that I think addresses caster vs. martial balance is that caster damage is too high. I agree. Caster damage could, perhaps, be house-ruled down.

AC. Armor Class. [Etc.]
Here I kind of agree with you. cnsvnc is quite right that any usable system will be something of an oversimplification. But I do generally prefer an oversimplified Armor-Grants-DR system to an oversimplified Armor-Prevents-Hits system. Converting D&D to such a system would probably be a massive undertaking. (I realize you stated this is't about fixes, but I can't resist giving it some thought.) It's not enough to give each armor type a DR number in place of its AC number. One would also have to catagorize other effects as giving DR or AC, since things like high Dex certainly prevent hits rather than reducing damage, and any given magical effect may be one or the other. Then one would have to look at weapon damage. If the DR from armor is enough to render some hits ineffective, i.e. reducing the damage to zero in place of preventing the hit, then the maximum damage and average damage is reduced, and this may well lead to new imbalences that would have to be addressed by increasing weapon base damage by some fraction of the midrange armor's DR. Even then, the strategy of weapon choice would be seriously altered.

Stellar_Magic
2014-08-01, 11:44 AM
Here I kind of agree with you. cnsvnc is quite right that any usable system will be something of an oversimplification. But I do generally prefer an oversimplified Armor-Grants-DR system to an oversimplified Armor-Prevents-Hits system. Converting D&D to such a system would probably be a massive undertaking. (I realize you stated this is't about fixes, but I can't resist giving it some thought.) It's not enough to give each armor type a DR number in place of its AC number. One would also have to catagorize other effects as giving DR or AC, since things like high Dex certainly prevent hits rather than reducing damage, and any given magical effect may be one or the other. Then one would have to look at weapon damage. If the DR from armor is enough to render some hits ineffective, i.e. reducing the damage to zero in place of preventing the hit, then the maximum damage and average damage is reduced, and this may well lead to new imbalences that would have to be addressed by increasing weapon base damage by some fraction of the midrange armor's DR. Even then, the strategy of weapon choice would be seriously altered.

Armor Class... such a pain. The thing is, I get why its designed the way it is in DnD... as DnD is designed to emulate a fantasy/medieval environment, and therefore is optimized for weapons of that time. Since Full-plate armor, would deflect arrow strikes, sword strikes, and most other typical attacks... a 'effectively a miss' type of mechanic where armor decreases the chance of an attack connecting with the target makes sense.

Going with DR also has problems, as you've pointed out. Moreover, another one being that DR for armor wouldn't account for attacks that hit unprotected areas either... (I would advocate a DR X/critical hits for armor grants DR designs). Neither does it really simulate the effect of a blow just glancing off the armor, something that could happen with leather armor, or full-plate.

Carl
2014-08-01, 01:58 PM
Got a bit more time for a more detailed response now and my head and vision are no longer swimming.

1. Try not to bring outside examples in unless your involving highly popular meme inducing movies. Anything less will go over the heads of at least some people. In my case i know nothing of Bleach, fortunately i'm familiar with a lot of the basic concepts therein so i can follow your examples anyway, but not everyone will be able to.

2. There's nothing wrong with a spell for every situation, it's as valid as custom spell creation and as both D&D's own epic rules and certain other systems show custom spell creation can be even more broken than lots of spells. The big issue is that many of the effects are unique to magic, or can be applied without the limits non-magic options have so magic can do things non-magic can't or can do it better. An ability to do a particular thing is rarely an issue, the ability to do said thing better than others or without the limits of others IS.

3. Just because one fictional system relies on physical as well as mental aspects to cast magic doesn't means that's the only way to do things. Indeed the traditional western view of such things is Merlin. The guy, (in most depictions), on his own couldn't have swung a sword to save his life. But his mind was all he needed to cast devastating magic. That said you do hit an important point. in D&D 3.5 all casters care about is con for HP and one mental stat for casting, physical classes care about con for HP's and both the physical stats for other reasons. That's an inherent imbalance.

4. Range absolutely is an issue, though with the right feat Bows can easily match the range, but in general the maximum range of many effects in D&D is too long to be worth simulating.

5. As i said Dodge is covered by reflex saves, particularly in the case of stuff with evasion. No there's no physical movement. But that's a valid design decision to reduce bookkeeping and abuse potential, (something that tends to happens a LOT in other systems where this is possible).

6. Again mettle + Fort/Will saves adequately cover the power through aspect, the stuff you can't power through often comes back to a case of poorly written effects or effects that use non-magic core rules that aren't really well thought out, (like your wind example).

ace rooster
2014-08-01, 02:17 PM
I feel the need to quibble your statement about mages having greater range. Any mook with a heavy crossbow can hit out to 1200ft. Add in far shot and they can hit 300ft with only a -2. If they are allowed basic magic then accuracy oil means they can hit 640ft with only a -4, and 1280ft at a -10. At 6th level 640ft is the range of a fireball, and 1280ft is the absolute max range you can expect the mage to be able to do anything at, with the vast majority of spells being considerably shorter range. (other than fire a crossbow back, but even then only if they are a warmage).

The inability to avoid targeted spells is something that bugs me a bit, and I would be all in favor of every spell being either area, allowing a reflex save for an immediate action move (using next rounds move action), or a ranged touch attack. Targeting based on possesion of some item of the target would also be permited, possibly using a metamagic. Voodoo doll based magic could be fun.

This brings me on to AC. There is no mundane way to boost your base touch AC that doesn't involve taking levels. none (ok, there is dodge). Years of adventuring don't seem to teach the fighter to get out of the way of things. Also, that magically enhanced steel plate that you carry around doesn't seem to affect spells. An ordinary steel plate blocks line of effect, but if you are holding it it has no effect whatsoever. I really don't see why spells should be touch attacks, if they need line of effect. Shield bonus should apply at the very least. Actually I can't think of many situations where your shield bonus would not affect touch attacks (incoporial is all I can come up with off the top of my head. A shield would help against somebody trying to grab you for example)

Possible armour fix:
work in progress

One way armour could work that only moderately increases dice rolling is by having a chance to bypass the DR that it gives. This could also introduce some variety into the effects of different types of armour, as well as giving options for different effects.

Partial DR: Together with every attack you also roll an armour dice. If this dice beats the armours coverage value then the armour does nothing. If it does not then the armour acts as damage reduction. This prevents armour ever making someone invulnerable, while keeping it effective.
example armours:
full plate. DR 10 with a coverage of 19
half plate DR 10 with a coverage of 17
Banded mail. DR 8 coverage 17
Splint mail. DR 7 coverage 17

Breastplate DR 10 coverage 11
Chainmail DR 5 coverage 19
scale mail DR 8 coverage 11
Hide DR 3 coverage 17

chain shirt DR 5 coverage 11
Studded leather DR 3 coverage 15
leather DR 3 coverage 11
padded DR 1 coverage 17

Precise strike feat. A character may take a penalty to hit for a round to increase his armour rolls by an equal amount, up to his BAB.


Next up for me is that the melee focused guy will not be much tougher than the mage. Most mages use con as their second stat, and are much more able to buff it themselves. That +1 ability every 4 levels will almost never go on a secondary stat, so a martial character will generally not end up much more agile or tough.

I definately have to agree with cnsvnc about the unlimited magic thing though. I am currently working on a setting that gets rid of that, that I will post soon. It basically treats the per day casting limits like a bank account's daily spending limits. Getting anywhere near that limit regularly will render you broke very quickly, but when you need money fast they are the relevant constraint.

Carl
2014-08-01, 05:09 PM
I feel the need to quibble your statement about mages having greater range. Any mook with a heavy crossbow can hit out to 1200ft. Add in far shot and they can hit 300ft with only a -2. If they are allowed basic magic then accuracy oil means they can hit 640ft with only a -4, and 1280ft at a -10. At 6th level 640ft is the range of a fireball, and 1280ft is the absolute max range you can expect the mage to be able to do anything at, with the vast majority of spells being considerably shorter range. (other than fire a crossbow back, but even then only if they are a warmage).

Wrong. An extended long range spell is 800ft + 80ft per caster level and basic core can push that to 23 by 20th, letting you reach out to 2640Ft.

Certainly there are a lot of spells that can't do that, but really if your throwing anything more than a couple hundred feet in D&D your starting to create issues.

Eulalios
2014-08-01, 05:49 PM
Re the Merlin / Naruto disjunct in representations of magic, it's fair to point out that Western / Euro traditions of magic typically involve lengthy rituals requiring little physical exertion, whereas Eastern / Asia qi powers as seen in anime often arise from perfection of meditative martial forms which therefore require physical stamina to support them.

ace rooster
2014-08-01, 07:35 PM
Wrong. An extended long range spell is 800ft + 80ft per caster level and basic core can push that to 23 by 20th, letting you reach out to 2640Ft.

Certainly there are a lot of spells that can't do that, but really if your throwing anything more than a couple hundred feet in D&D your starting to create issues.

When casters are throwing around caster level 20 they can finally match the range of a distance crossbow, (Distance greatbow goes to 2600ft if we are going non core). At that point casters are also throwing around wish and gate, so not being able to make the range is the least of their worries. Even with +3 caster level you are needing to be level 17 (capable of 9th level spells) before you can hit a range of 2400ft, which you can get with a standard heavy crossbow with accuracy oil (50gp for the oil, for 110gp total). You can afford that at level 2. This is before you even start on the interaction between far shot and distance weapons.

I will grant you that between the levels of 17 to 21 (when an archer can get distant shot), a mage can out-range an archer, at least with his direct damage evocations, using metamagic, if the DM rules that far shot and distance do not stack at all, and we restrict ourselves to core. If you can find a way to get a range of 2400ft at level 14 that doesn't stink of cheese then I would love to hear it.

Carl
2014-08-02, 12:24 AM
If you can find a way to get a range of 2400ft at level 14 that doesn't stink of cheese then I would love to hear it.

Don't need to. Core only allows you to go out to 1800ft, (far shot is a 1.5 multiplier on range increment for non-thrown weapons, not double). Getting that with metamagic is doable at caster level 13. I should also point out that even your distance greatbow has a massive to hit penalty at the kind of distances where talking here, unless your shooting something way below your level you've bugger all chance of actually doing anything where's a spell is just as dangerous as at 10ft range.

ace rooster
2014-08-02, 03:56 AM
Don't need to. Core only allows you to go out to 1800ft, (far shot is a 1.5 multiplier on range increment for non-thrown weapons, not double). Getting that with metamagic is doable at caster level 13. I should also point out that even your distance greatbow has a massive to hit penalty at the kind of distances where talking here, unless your shooting something way below your level you've bugger all chance of actually doing anything where's a spell is just as dangerous as at 10ft range.

Far shot only increases 50%, but the distance enhancement doubles it. Due to strange wording they may stack in some way.

You will have at least one in 20, and using basic magic you can get back to reasonable to hit values with true strike. Even the one in 20 is enough to win any firefight if the opponent cannot do anything in return, and you have enough ammunition. Mages are generally very mobile, so keeping them at range is difficult, but the fact that the mage has to follow you (abandoning his position) is a demonstration that he does not have a range advatage. At most ranges he is at an advantage, but at extreme range he is not, and is forced to close range.

1pwny
2014-08-02, 07:06 AM
This brings me on to AC. There is no mundane way to boost your base touch AC that doesn't involve taking levels. none (ok, there is dodge). Years of adventuring don't seem to teach the fighter to get out of the way of things. Also, that magically enhanced steel plate that you carry around doesn't seem to affect spells. An ordinary steel plate blocks line of effect, but if you are holding it it has no effect whatsoever. I really don't see why spells should be touch attacks, if they need line of effect. Shield bonus should apply at the very least. Actually I can't think of many situations where your shield bonus would not affect touch attacks (incoporial is all I can come up with off the top of my head. A shield would help against somebody trying to grab you for example)

Possible armour fix:
work in progress

One way armour could work that only moderately increases dice rolling is by having a chance to bypass the DR that it gives. This could also introduce some variety into the effects of different types of armour, as well as giving options for different effects.

Partial DR: Together with every attack you also roll an armour dice. If this dice beats the armours coverage value then the armour does nothing. If it does not then the armour acts as damage reduction. This prevents armour ever making someone invulnerable, while keeping it effective.
example armours:
full plate. DR 10 with a coverage of 19
half plate DR 10 with a coverage of 17
Banded mail. DR 8 coverage 17
Splint mail. DR 7 coverage 17

Breastplate DR 10 coverage 11
Chainmail DR 5 coverage 19
scale mail DR 8 coverage 11
Hide DR 3 coverage 17

chain shirt DR 5 coverage 11
Studded leather DR 3 coverage 15
leather DR 3 coverage 11
padded DR 1 coverage 17

Precise strike feat. A character may take a penalty to hit for a round to increase his armour rolls by an equal amount, up to his BAB.


Yeah, I like the points you made. The armor fix was good too, but personally I would call it a tad complicated. I would actually go for something like this:
Armor Fix (made in 2 seconds):

Instead of an AC, you have 2 stats.

TDB (total dodge bonus) = Base Reflex + Dex mod + Dodge + BAB/2 + misc. modifiers
TAB (total armor bonus) = Armor Bonus + Nat. Armor + misc. modifiers

You would get a chance to dodge any attack with a TDB + d20, and if you fail you get your TAB to DR.

I don't want to go into other stuff, but someone else (get the pun?) could figure out if the TAB and TDB thing is usable. Actually, now that I'm looking at what goes into the TAB, it seems a little low at high levels.

Maybe you could do something like in LOL, where armor gives you percent damage reduction?

I don't know. :smallsmile:

ace rooster
2014-08-02, 08:44 AM
Yeah, I like the points you made. The armor fix was good too, but personally I would call it a tad complicated. I would actually go for something like this:
Armor Fix (made in 2 seconds):

Instead of an AC, you have 2 stats.

TDB (total dodge bonus) = Base Reflex + Dex mod + Dodge + BAB/2 + misc. modifiers
TAB (total armor bonus) = Armor Bonus + Nat. Armor + misc. modifiers

You would get a chance to dodge any attack with a TDB + d20, and if you fail you get your TAB to DR.

I don't want to go into other stuff, but someone else (get the pun?) could figure out if the TAB and TDB thing is usable. Actually, now that I'm looking at what goes into the TAB, it seems a little low at high levels.

Maybe you could do something like in LOL, where armor gives you percent damage reduction?

I don't know. :smallsmile:

I don't think it is that complicated, using a single extra dice roll (with very few modifiers) that can be done with the attack, against a flat DC. I'm probably explaining it badly, but the idea is that it can be done in exactly the same time as a standard attack once you get slick at it.

The thing about rolling a dodge is that it is functionally equivilent to assuming an AC of 20 + stuff, and then rolling 2D20 + attack modifier against it. It gives you a different distribution to the flat d20, and makes the stats a little harder, but the main impact is that you are less likely to hit anything that required a 12 to 18, and more likely to hit anything that needed an 19 or 20.

The reflex thing is a nice idea, but at low levels it means that rogues are better at dodging than combat trained characters, and multiclassing can boost your AC to crazy values. I don't think that is what it is supposed to reflect.

The low values can easily be modified by assuming that enhancement bonuses are doubled or tripled for example. Also, the damage values that are thrown around here are generally very high. For reference, DR 13 (+5 full plate) would basically nullify the claws and wings of an adult red dragon, and take the edge off the bite and tail. Regularly throwing around 30+ damage is not supposed to be normal (except for casters. They really gave casters all the love).

I don't like the idea of percentage damage reduction, because it strikes me as hard to work with. The same effect could be achieved by granting extra hit points, which is also viable, but I like the idea of daggers completely bouncing off most of the time (but not all the time).

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-02, 10:26 AM
Physical abilities are irrelevant to magic? Well, yeah. I mean magic can easily be a purely mental action where you will energies around to work how you want them to, in fact this is usually how I think of it.

Melee doesn't have nice things? Yes. They should be given nice things. I'm rather fond of the mythos classes on here actually. A bellator looks much better beside a wizard than the standard fighter. So here's what I suggest, is your campaign high powered? Then the players should be bellators and teramachs and wizards and sorcerers. Is it low powered? Then it should be war mages and dread necromancers and fighters and barbarians and rogues. Simple. Simple enough anyway. Though lots of DMs don't allow homebrew easily I guess. I've kind of been spoiled in my group where basically any 3.p content ever that isn't horribly and ridiculously broken is allowed.

Armor class... Yeah it's stupid but it's even worse than you made it sound to be honest.

First you have HP. They just represent your health, right? So incredibly wrong. Apparently they also represent morale. Except that's also represented by morale bonuses to AC. Oh and your ability to dodge... Which is again also represented by AC. And reflex saves of course. And then you have DR. Which is like thick skin or the ability to heal quickly, but thick skin is also represented by natural armor, and the ability to heal quickly is surprisingly also represented by fast healing. In conclusion, did no one at WoTC ever talk to each other when they made d&d? Did one guy make the AC rules and one guy make the HP rules and when they were done they just threw them together without saying a word to each other?

I think you'd have to rewrite all the armor/HP/Dr stuff from scratch just to make something sensible. Maybe you could get close by splitting AC into DR provided by armor and natural armor, and defense which is like standard AC. But you'd still have to explain why your 40 hit points allow you to take a bullet to the face and not die. A damage track like m&m or wound progression like wod makes a lot more sense, but you'd have to figure out new standard numbers for armor.

Stellar_Magic
2014-08-02, 11:26 AM
Well, armor in the real world does both... It increases the chance of an attack being deflected away from the target (bonus to AC) and negates some of the strikes that are not deflected away from the target (Damage Reduction). At the same time, Damage Reduction from armor should not be applied to critical hits, as most armor does not provide total protection.

This is why the Unearthed Arcana variant rules for Damage Reduction from Armor effectively split the bonus, giving half as DR and the other half as an AC bonus.

If you had a wound track (save vs. damage) like in M&M or condition track like in Saga Edition (threshold based) the most logical way to handle armor would be to make it so armor provides a bonus to Fortitude saves against damage or a bonus to Damage Threshold, so that the severity of a strike's damage is reduced.

However, this still doesn't account for armor's ability to deflect blows away from the strike.

VoxRationis
2014-08-02, 11:48 AM
Also, I'd like to point out that while the "magic just appears" complaint is true for many spells, it's not true for all of them, and not the one used as an example! The Fireball spell appears as a golden orb coming out of your hand and travels along a trajectory you set when you cast the spell. If the target is behind an arrow slit or similar small opening, you need to make an attack roll to fit the orb through.

jqavins
2014-08-02, 01:16 PM
That said you do hit an important point. in D&D 3.5 all casters care about is con for HP and one mental stat for casting, physical classes care about con for HP's and both the physical stats for other reasons. That's an inherent imbalance.
Casters use Dex for AC just as much as fighters do. On one hand maybe AC is a little less important to a caster who isn't in melee much, but Dex can be more important since they can't use armor for AC. Basically, everyone needs Dex and Con, regardless of class.

This brings me on to AC. There is no mundane way to boost your base touch AC that doesn't involve taking levels. none.
OK, I must be missing something. Why should there be? Why is this a problem?

ace rooster
2014-08-02, 04:19 PM
Casters use Dex for AC just as much as fighters do. On one hand maybe AC is a little less important to a caster who isn't in melee much, but Dex can be more important since they can't use armor for AC. Basically, everyone needs Dex and Con, regardless of class.

OK, I must be missing something. Why should there be? Why is this a problem?

Touch AC not scaling is a problem because many attacks that are crippling use touch AC. A str 22 level one orc with a potion of enlarge person and a flail making trip attacks is as effective against epic characters as level 1s. A good BAB will help you with in a grapple, but touch AC is what stops somebody starting one. Mooks throwing achemists fire (and other alchemical energy) don't get any less effective. As you go up levels the enemies get bigger and stronger, meaning trips and grapples get more effective against PCs. This is before you consider mages at all, who's touch attacks become more of a certainty as you go up levels.

Basically having offence scale but not defence means that combat gets progressively more rocket taggy. This forces players to use ubercharger builds, and end combats in a single round. This makes for dull combats, with all decisions being done at build time. I view this as a problem, or at least something that could be improved.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-02, 05:22 PM
Casters use Dex for AC just as much as fighters do. On one hand maybe AC is a little less important to a caster who isn't in melee much, but Dex can be more important since they can't use armor for AC. Basically, everyone needs Dex and Con, regardless of class.

The thing is a full caster has that one ability score that they can pump to max, a couple of others that would be great to have but they won't necessarily fail without, and a couple others they don't care about beyond rp. A wizard has it harder without high Dex, but there are quite a few spells that can avoid it being a game ender.

Fighters need, truly need Str, Dex, and Con. But they also could use wisdom to avoid being mind controlled or paralyzed in a fight. And they need high intelligence if they want to be good at something other than smashing stuff.




Basically having offence scale but not defence means that combat gets progressively more rocket taggy. This forces players to use ubercharger builds, and end combats in a single round. This makes for dull combats, with all decisions being done at build time. I view this as a problem, or at least something that could be improved.


Never really thought about that but that's definitely true.



I really don't see why spells should be touch attacks, if they need line of effect.

Well some should, since fire is hot, and ice is cold, and steel is conductive.

Some shouldn't. And it should really be on a case by case basis. Certain materials should block spells. A magic shield should probably inherently grant some degree of SR.

Carl
2014-08-02, 08:45 PM
Casters use Dex for AC just as much as fighters do. On one hand maybe AC is a little less important to a caster who isn't in melee much, but Dex can be more important since they can't use armor for AC. Basically, everyone needs Dex and Con, regardless of class.

No they don't, casters don't take melee or ranged attacks in 95% of situations they don;t want to, and no amount of dex stacking a caster can do will have the slightest effect on ranged touch attack rolls.

If it can't fly it can't melee.

If it's a normal ranged attack 95% are rendered lol worthy damage wise by a simple stone skin. Otherwise Miss chance, Illusionary doubles, and the flat out immunity of wind wall gets rid of it. A very small, (probably sub 1%), of ranged attacks have an attack powerful enough to bypass both wind wall and stoneskin whilst being on a character/monster that can reasonably get past miss chances and illusions.

Literally Dex is utterly irrelevant to casters in the vast majority of situations. Even then so long as they have a non-negative Dex score, (totally doable), the maximum AC variance from a fighter et/al is quite low, less than 8 points usually.

A Martial on the other hand gets all his defense against ranged and melee near entirely from his AC score so maxing his dex as much as possible to get as high an AC as he can is really vital. But without good strength you have no damage, and without con no HP's.

silphael
2014-08-03, 03:09 PM
Well some should, since fire is hot, and ice is cold, and steel is conductive.

Some shouldn't. And it should really be on a case by case basis. Certain materials should block spells. A magic shield should probably inherently grant some degree of SR.

Common misconception, steel being conductive should protect people from electricity, not make them vulnerable to it... but yeah, touch AC is the worst idea ever, while i can understand the use for it at low level : allowing casters to touch anything, at higher level it should scale better.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-03, 03:34 PM
Common misconception, steel being conductive should protect people from electricity, not make them vulnerable to it... but yeah, touch AC is the worst idea ever, while i can understand the use for it at low level : allowing casters to touch anything, at higher level it should scale better.

I was talking about heat and cold. As in holding a steel shield that just got blasted with fire would hurt because steel conducts heat, since you're touching the now very hot shield.

As for touch AC, again certain things should hurt just by touching you so it's not a crazy idea, just implemented incorrectly.

1pwny
2014-08-03, 07:24 PM
The reflex thing is a nice idea, but at low levels it means that rogues are better at dodging than combat trained characters, and multiclassing can boost your AC to crazy values. I don't think that is what it is supposed to reflect.
Well, I made this fix in, like, 2 seconds. It's not playtested at all. But to counter your point, think of it like this, from a fluff standpoint.
- A Rogue would have, in theory, been doing things like picking pockets for years as a citizen and thus eventually became classed as a 'Rogue' after building up enough skill.
- Fighter would have been normal, then went into Fighter's school. Over time, he'll have enough training to be able to dodge more attacks, thus represented by the "1/2 BAB" part of the TDB.


I was talking about heat and cold. As in holding a steel shield that just got blasted with fire would hurt because steel conducts heat, since you're touching the now very hot shield.
Exactly. But still, getting burned through your clothes is much better than being hit in the face by a giant ball of fire, and thus, at least partial DR should be given to he who holds the shield.

Basically the only reason I suggested Armor giving percentage DR is so that it could easily apply to both spells and melee attacks, which have completely different damage spectrums.

Carl
2014-08-03, 08:00 PM
I was talking about heat and cold. As in holding a steel shield that just got blasted with fire would hurt because steel conducts heat, since you're touching the now very hot shield.

As for touch AC, again certain things should hurt just by touching you so it's not a crazy idea, just implemented incorrectly.

Here's the thing. we allready know from Arcane casters that big amounts of metal can mess up magical energies. If we assume Divine is different in how it's manipulated at the caster end rather than different at the impact end the same would apply to any caster. At which point the whole point of touch AC goes out the window because almost everything else that is a touch attack than isn't magic tends to rely on overpowering any defense, and could thus be more correctly shifted to reflex.

In the end it barely matters though because there's 100% no way you will ever balance touch AC. The difference should be 10 points between the two given all all balanced full casters are half bab. But because there's so many ways of putting together your AC and some of them take significant penalties to AC from touch attacks whilst others take modest penalties there's no way you'll make that happen, never mind that with monsters getting most of their AC from natural armor there's no method short of stupid AC inflation on monsters to counteract that.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-03, 10:05 PM
Here's the thing. we allready know from Arcane casters that big amounts of metal can mess up magical energies.

We do? How do we know that again?

Network
2014-08-03, 11:10 PM
We do? How do we know that again?
I think Carl is saying that metal in armor is the cause of arcane spell failure chance, even though the SRD explicitely states that it is obstruction of movement, not metal, which is responsible for it:

Arcane Spell Failure
Armor interferes with the gestures that a spellcaster must make to cast an arcane spell that has a somatic component. Arcane spellcasters face the possibility of arcane spell failure if they’re wearing armor. Bards can wear light armor without incurring any arcane spell failure chance for their bard spells.
The only case of metal hindering magic in D&D is cold iron, and it is not impervious to it, either: it's just more costly to enhance it.

Edit: Forgot the druid. The druid can't wear metal armor, the explanation being that it is somehow not natural and they made a vow not to use it. Except druids can still perfectly carry tons of metal, and if they aren't wearing it as an armor, they won't lose their magic.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-03, 11:49 PM
Ah, okay. I actually kind of get that since metal interfering with magical energy makes (a tiny amount) more sense than "oops, I didn't wiggle my fingers correctly *fizzle*"

Yeah metal being unnatural has got to be in the top ten of incredibly ridiculous fluff.

silphael
2014-08-04, 01:58 AM
Well, I made this fix in, like, 2 seconds. It's not playtested at all. But to counter your point, think of it like this, from a fluff standpoint.
- A Rogue would have, in theory, been doing things like picking pockets for years as a citizen and thus eventually became classed as a 'Rogue' after building up enough skill.
- Fighter would have been normal, then went into Fighter's school. Over time, he'll have enough training to be able to dodge more attacks, thus represented by the "1/2 BAB" part of the TDB.

Fluff shouldn't limit things : there is NO such thing as "fighter's school" except the one called war/strife, whatever form it may take. For the rogue you mean having 4 ranks in sleight of hand? I still don't get why the guy trained in war should be easier to hit... I really mean it, look more in the direction of movies and books, nearly every fighting style works with avoiding you being hit, because one hit is usually enough to put you down. D&D isn't working that way, HP aren't life, they are morale, health, sheer will, and so on all mixed together : HP represent that training as well.


Exactly. But still, getting burned through your clothes is much better than being hit in the face by a giant ball of fire, and thus, at least partial DR should be given to he who holds the shield.

Basically the only reason I suggested Armor giving percentage DR is so that it could easily apply to both spells and melee attacks, which have completely different damage spectrums.

Yet percentile is really hard to calculate efficiently. Quarters could work, though.

VoxRationis
2014-08-04, 02:29 AM
Ah, okay. I actually kind of get that since metal interfering with magical energy makes (a tiny amount) more sense than "oops, I didn't wiggle my fingers correctly *fizzle*"

Yeah metal being unnatural has got to be in the top ten of incredibly ridiculous fluff.

Point 1: No, because some spells require metal spell components, and something interfering with your ability to perform the gestures you NEED to use to cast a spell is a perfectly legitimate reason for a spell to fail. How well can you type in stiff metal gauntlets? How well can you sew?

Point 2: Weapons and armor restrictions are easier to implement than playing the game of "does X magical item have metal in it?" Metal is much, much less "natural," in the mythic/cultural sense of the term, than plant fibers or animal skins, in that a) metalworking was invented after much more time spent in "civilization" than fibers or skins, and b) metal armor requires large amounts of infrastructure and huge ecological costs in terms of the mining, smelting, and smithing.

Carl
2014-08-04, 05:30 AM
Point 1: No, because some spells require metal spell components, and something interfering with your ability to perform the gestures you NEED to use to cast a spell is a perfectly legitimate reason for a spell to fail. How well can you type in stiff metal gauntlets? How well can you sew?

Given that good armor is incredibly easy to move in, (and many types don't even include gauntlets). Not very difficult at all. Seriouslly i got it into my head it was the metal because of the gauntlet thing.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-04, 08:51 AM
Point 1: No, because some spells require metal spell components, and something interfering with your ability to perform the gestures you NEED to use to cast a spell is a perfectly legitimate reason for a spell to fail. How well can you type in stiff metal gauntlets? How well can you sew?

Ah... Requiring gestures doesn't make sense in the first place unless magic is generated by nanomachines and the gestures are codes. That's really the only time it isn't dumb. If it wasn't dumb you could actually make it a reason casters needed Dex, though I'd prefer making non casters less MAD than making casters less SAD, since having only one necessary ability score means the others are a fluff choice, so I could be a wise wizard or an intelligent fighter if I want, and while it might not be high op, it won't kill me either.

Also, what ccarl said.


Point 2: Weapons and armor restrictions are easier to implement than playing the game of "does X magical item have metal in it?" Metal is much, much less "natural," in the mythic/cultural sense of the term, than plant fibers or animal skins, in that a) metalworking was invented after much more time spent in "civilization" than fibers or skins, and b) metal armor requires large amounts of infrastructure and huge ecological costs in terms of the mining, smelting, and smithing.

Metal exists. It comes out of the ground. It's no more unnatural than fruit preserves or beef jerky. Plus they don't really need metal equipment anyway so it's not like it's much of a restriction. I always thought it was a poorly thought out fluff thing tbh. Like Barbarian's being illiterate.

Which is kind of another problem with d&d that they added a bunch of restrictions based on things that may or not be considered true in a given setting. Not a huge problem because of rule 0 but still.

VoxRationis
2014-08-04, 11:31 AM
Given that good armor is incredibly easy to move in, (and many types don't even include gauntlets). Not very difficult at all. Seriouslly i got it into my head it was the metal because of the gauntlet thing.

Good armor is easy to do the movements needed for battle in. I doubt the manual dexterity of gauntlets is really up to speed compared with unfettered hands. Heck, winter gloves seriously detract from manual dexterity, and they're made of cloth. But you do have a good point about armor without gauntlets.

Re: Icewolf: Having gestures and words be a crucial part of casting spells is part of the fantasy mythos D&D taps into. It's like the classic "turn your enemies into a frog" kind of spell; it's in there because that's a staple of the genre. You can question it if you wish, but if you insist on breaking genre restrictions too much, you're going to start playing a different game.
Metal exists, yes, but it's not usually refined metal (very few are natively found in an elemental state, and they're not the ones used for armor), it's usually deep underground, and it's not generally found in living ecosystems and environments with trees and deer and the like. Furthermore, working metal is a hallmark of a larger, more developed culture more removed from nature. Coal exists naturally; do you think a druid industrialist would retain his class features?
And you really don't think that a class called "Barbarian" and described as a warrior from the wilds in a medieval setting deserves illiteracy? Frankly, more classes should be illiterate. This attitude sounds like player entitlement: "If it benefits me, it's RAW and you can't take it away from me; if it restricts me, WotC was high when they wrote it!"

jqavins
2014-08-04, 02:07 PM
Metal exists, yes, but it's not usually refined metal (very few are natively found in an elemental state, and they're not the ones used for armor...
"Hmm," he said, stroking his chin. "I wonder if that means metals that are found native are closer to nature and would be more compatible with magic. Gold is found native, and copper is occasionally. What about armor made from a gold-copper alloy? Expensive, yes, but money is easily come by for the bold. Easily damaged, yes, and thus frequently in need of repair. But nearly as good protection as any metal for as long as it lasts. And the metal is so much easier to work that the repairs would be easy, even though expensive. Heavy, very heavy; that could be a problem. Hmm..."

Nah, probably not.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-04, 03:12 PM
Good armor is easy to do the movements needed for battle in. I doubt the manual dexterity of gauntlets is really up to speed compared with unfettered hands. Heck, winter gloves seriously detract from manual dexterity, and they're made of cloth. But you do have a good point about armor without gauntlets.

Re: Icewolf: Having gestures and words be a crucial part of casting spells is part of the fantasy mythos D&D taps into. It's like the classic "turn your enemies into a frog" kind of spell; it's in there because that's a staple of the genre. You can question it if you wish, but if you insist on breaking genre restrictions too much, you're going to start playing a different game.
Metal exists, yes, but it's not usually refined metal (very few are natively found in an elemental state, and they're not the ones used for armor), it's usually deep underground, and it's not generally found in living ecosystems and environments with trees and deer and the like. Furthermore, working metal is a hallmark of a larger, more developed culture more removed from nature. Coal exists naturally; do you think a druid industrialist would retain his class features?
And you really don't think that a class called "Barbarian" and described as a warrior from the wilds in a medieval setting deserves illiteracy? Frankly, more classes should be illiterate. This attitude sounds like player entitlement: "If it benefits me, it's RAW and you can't take it away from me; if it restricts me, WotC was high when they wrote it!"

Everything you said is setting and background dependent. What if my barbarian comes from a tribe that happens to like writing? What if my barbarian originally grew up rich and decided he'd rather live in the wilds? Heck, what if he just plain decided he WANTED TO LEARN TO READ at some point? And not every setting is pseudo-medieval. I think eberron even has a public school system. I know quite a few settings I've halfway written and used in campaigns do, despite not being truly modern as such, they aren't really medieval either and aren't made to reflect any particular time period. Not only is there really no reason a given setting has to reflect any real life time period, there's really no reason a fantasy setting should. These are completely separate worlds, they only have to reflect the real world as much as you want them to do so.

Why is magic requiring gestures a big deal, really. Especially when there's no way whatsoever to rationalize it, aside from being a focus aid, but if it was just a focus aid, you wouldn't need a meta magic feat to cast spells without them. The other option I already mentioned, nano machines, aren't very medievally.

A druid industrialist is not the same as a druid wearing armor, or picking up a metal sword and swinging it at an enemy. (Though if he found some way to be an industrialist without destroying the environment, I don't see why not.) Do you think a druid who burnt some coal one day would instantly be stripped of all their class abilities for that day as a result?

Let these kind of fluff-based rules be setting and DM dependent. That's all I'm saying.

VoxRationis
2014-08-04, 03:20 PM
If your barbarian wants to learn to read, it's two freaking skill points. Not a big deal. Pick two Strength-based skills and subtract a point from each of them compared to what they would otherwise have been. You'll barely notice the difference. I once played a barbarian who took literacy, Forgery, and a half-dozen cross-class Knowledge skills. One of the most enjoyable characters I've ever played.

You can't just completely disregard fluff. D&D is meant to model fantasy in the vein of Western fairy tales, literature, and movies. The game is built with that in mind, and that implies certain things about the available classes, equipment, etc. The druid gets a spell list built entirely around the natural world because they are supposed to be priests of the natural world, living in the wilderness, etc. They subscribe to older, not entirely consistent ideas of "natural" because they draw from a common cultural perception.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-04, 03:42 PM
Are we getting off topic? Maybe this debate needs a different thread... The thread is problems with d&d but it seems like this is totally different than the problems the op wanted to talk about so I'm not sure.

silphael
2014-08-04, 03:48 PM
You can. Illiteracy is one of the most often removed class features for the barbarian, either in homebrew or in 3.P... and taking it away just make fluffing things easier. If you wanna make a character that cannot read, just says "he can't read" and that's it... That will be an interresting choice, instead of a forced one. For a barbarian 2 skill points aren't really "few skill points", as pointed earlier : of course they have 4+ skill points per level (which all classes except wizard should have at the very least anyway) but int is one of their dumb stats...

Fluff shouldn't be related to the crunch more than really distantly in D&D, period.

1pwny
2014-08-04, 04:53 PM
Fluff shouldn't be related to the crunch more than really distantly in D&D, period.

That's the optimizer in you speaking. And what does that even mean? Fluff shouldn't be related to crunch? Are you implying that the parts of D&D which make it more realistic from a role-playing perspective should be irrelevant? Are you saying that D&D would be better off if none of the fun parts were still there?

I fear for jedipotter's life if he ever meets you. You both seem to be on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum. One of you wants to sit, lonely, in front of his computer endlessly turning a fun game into a bunch of numbers, and the other rewriting the rules to fit his every whim.

Network
2014-08-04, 05:17 PM
Why is magic requiring gestures a big deal, really. Especially when there's no way whatsoever to rationalize it, aside from being a focus aid, but if it was just a focus aid, you wouldn't need a meta magic feat to cast spells without them. The other option I already mentioned, nano machines, aren't very medievally.
From the look of it you don't seem to realize how common this trope is (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalGesture), with examples ranging from Doctor Strange to Naruto. Having magic require gestures is not so different from having it require an incantation, and both are staples of the fantasy genre. Both of them make perfect sense, because it is magic. Psionic powers don't need them, but they aren't magic in the fantastic sense.

silphael
2014-08-04, 05:43 PM
That's the optimizer in you speaking. And what does that even mean? Fluff shouldn't be related to crunch? Are you implying that the parts of D&D which make it more realistic from a role-playing perspective should be irrelevant? Are you saying that D&D would be better off if none of the fun parts were still there?

I fear for jedipotter's life if he ever meets you. You both seem to be on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum. One of you wants to sit, lonely, in front of his computer endlessly turning a fun game into a bunch of numbers, and the other rewriting the rules to fit his every whim.

I'm really bad at op-fu ^^

More seriously, what I mean by that is, basically, that if I want to state that my character is a sword-wielder telekinesist, I can purely take a fighter or a barbarian and refluff it. Seeing my point?

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-04, 05:52 PM
From the look of it you don't seem to realize how common this trope is (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalGesture), with examples ranging from Doctor Strange to Naruto. Having magic require gestures is not so different from having it require an incantation, and both are staples of the fantasy genre. Both of them make perfect sense, because it is magic. Psionic powers don't need them, but they aren't magic in the fantastic sense.

Something being common doesn't cause it to make more sense. That is what they call a non-sequitar argument if I recall correctly.

I've watched naruto and the fact that their handseals somehow allow them to channel chakra also makes my brain scream in an enraged fury. They never explain why either. No it doesn't make sense just because it's magic. In order to make sense they'd have to describe a mechanism through which the handseals work.

I'm not really sure how to explain why I find it silly. It's like... Okay if you have an energy that flows through everything and allows magic. Okay cool beans, that makes perfect sense to me even if it isn't true in real life there isn't anything impossible to justify about it. It's a logically plausible concept, and incantations are easy to justify as being something that helps you focus on what you want the energy to do. Gestures could be that but then how can moving your hands a certain way help you there? Now those gestures being something that absolutely must be done in most cases for magic to work. That's not remotely logical. At all.

1pwny
2014-08-04, 07:57 PM
Something being common doesn't cause it to make more sense. That is what they call a non-sequitar argument if I recall correctly.

I've watched naruto and the fact that their handseals somehow allow them to channel chakra also makes my brain scream in an enraged fury. They never explain why either. No it doesn't make sense just because it's magic. In order to make sense they'd have to describe a mechanism through which the handseals work.

I'm not really sure how to explain why I find it silly. It's like... Okay if you have an energy that flows through everything and allows magic. Okay cool beans, that makes perfect sense to me even if it isn't true in real life there isn't anything impossible to justify about it. It's a logically plausible concept, and incantations are easy to justify as being something that helps you focus on what you want the energy to do. Gestures could be that but then how can moving your hands a certain way help you there? Now those gestures being something that absolutely must be done in most cases for magic to work. That's not remotely logical. At all.

In programming, there's a concept called a hashmap. Basically, its a bunch of numbers or symbols (called a hash) that each reference a different object or method. Now, I'm not claiming to know how magic works, but I like to think that the universe has one giant hashmap of spells, each hash consisting of the different spell components for the linked spell. So, by fulfilling the spell's requirements (be they somatic or verbal) you can go to the 'hash' and then access the spell.

BTW, this could be a good example of how fluff (the spell hashmap) interacts with crunch (verbal and somatic components). :smallsmile:

SiuiS
2014-08-04, 08:06 PM
Ah... Requiring gestures doesn't make sense in the first place unless magic is generated by nanomachines and the gestures are codes. That's really the only time it isn't dumb. If it wasn't dumb you could actually make it a reason casters needed Dex, though I'd prefer making non casters less MAD than making casters less SAD, since having only one necessary ability score means the others are a fluff choice, so I could be a wise wizard or an intelligent fighter if I want, and while it might not be high op, it won't kill me either.

This misses a lot of the latent understanding of metaphysics. Remember, metaphysics, not just physics. Magic engages systems that standard science doesn't explain. You don't launch a Lightningbolt by nanomachines, you launch a lightning bolt by using words, materials and gestures which align with the concept of evocation – your stance and movement evokes the image and the image is.

Also, what ccarl said.



Which is kind of another problem with d&d that they added a bunch of restrictions based on things that may or not be considered true in a given setting. Not a huge problem because of rule 0 but still.

Barbarian illiteracy is not a D&D thing, it is a third edition only thing, when barbarians were combined with mindless berserkers. The archetypal barbarian from fiction was a literal linguistic genius.

VoxRationis
2014-08-04, 08:14 PM
In older editions, everyone had illiteracy by default and had to purchase literacy using language slots or nonweapon proficiencies.

Also, asking "why does magic work like this" breaks down at some level. At some level, you just have to say "Because that's how it works." If you want your wizards to actually explain everything they do down to the most basic aspects of their metaphysics, what you've got is no longer a fantasy story and is now the Principia Magica; a physics textbook written for a made-up set of physics. Magic in the common view, all the way from the wand-waving of Harry Potter to the witch pointing her finger and cackling to the common, real-world magician, involves gestures. That's just how it works. What you therefore have to do is establish the rules that work for the purposes of your story, the rules that are apparent and important from the perspective of the characters.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-04, 11:13 PM
In older editions, everyone had illiteracy by default and had to purchase literacy using language slots or nonweapon proficiencies.

Also, asking "why does magic work like this" breaks down at some level. At some level, you just have to say "Because that's how it works." If you want your wizards to actually explain everything they do down to the most basic aspects of their metaphysics, what you've got is no longer a fantasy story and is now the Principia Magica; a physics textbook written for a made-up set of physics. Magic in the common view, all the way from the wand-waving of Harry Potter to the witch pointing her finger and cackling to the common, real-world magician, involves gestures. That's just how it works. What you therefore have to do is establish the rules that work for the purposes of your story, the rules that are apparent and important from the perspective of the characters.

I'm not really asking for the big book of magic physics here, just a sensible reason magic uses gestures. Somebody27else and siuis gave some that made a touch of sense. So i guess my stance is now, "okay, I still don't like gestures as the way spells work but I guess it's not as ridiculous as I thought."

I've read your argument this thread as "well a lot of stories and stuff use this kind of thing in magic, so d&d absolutely has to as well." I don't really find that sensible, sorry. There are also a lot that don't.

Also, is there some reason you believe every setting ever, no matter how unlike the real world, should have rampant illiteracy? Okay, you play in pseudo-medieval settings. That's fine. Not everyone does. Some of us sometimes play in magocracy worlds that have public school systems that teach basically everyone how to read. That's fine too, but making everyone (or anyone who doesn't live under a rock) illiterate in the second example would be unspeakably idiotic. Making most people illiterate in the first is reasonable, if annoying. Though I don't see why it couldn't be based on background without really having to pay for it. What's anyone going to do with literacy anyway in game? Ooh they can read books and write letters to other characters. Really game breaking. Right up there with being a baker without putting points into profession(baker). It also isn't particularly fun to have to spend feats and skill points on things like that when especially when there are much more fun options elsewhere.

silphael
2014-08-05, 05:40 AM
In my opinion it's more like :

-if you don't move to do magic things it looks like psionic
-if you don't talk to do magic it looks like ki thingies.

Basically. It was a choice at the beginning, and the things they made after it decided them to keep it as such.

ace rooster
2014-08-05, 06:54 AM
I'm not really asking for the big book of magic physics here, just a sensible reason magic uses gestures. Somebody27else and siuis gave some that made a touch of sense. So i guess my stance is now, "okay, I still don't like gestures as the way spells work but I guess it's not as ridiculous as I thought."

I've read your argument this thread as "well a lot of stories and stuff use this kind of thing in magic, so d&d absolutely has to as well." I don't really find that sensible, sorry. There are also a lot that don't.


A sensible reason magic uses gestures? Is there any sensible reason magic interacts with verbal components, or even thoughts? If magic interacts with biological matter at all then gestures are a natural way to control it. They might not be the only way to control it, as you could learn minor abjurations that achieve the same effects, and allow casting by effectively emulating the effects of the gestures (still spell). Generally it is easier to just use your hands if possible.

Trying to make sense of spell failure chances is a bit more difficult. There are two directions you can go, and neither really works.
First is assuming that casters cannot perform the movements required because armour is too restrictive. Apart from the fact that a chain shirt is not exactly restrictive, casting has no dex requirement. Even if we assume that every caster works within their own dexterity, penalties and ability damage do not affect casting until the character is immobile.
Second is assuming that metals and even hides interfere with the flow of magic involved in loosing a spell. This makes a bit more sense, as magic has to interact with the flesh of the wizard in order for them to control it, but then still spells should not avoid the failure chance. Incidently the interaction between metals and druid magic (metals actually sucking it out) could be just a thing, independent of the 'natural' nature of some metals.

There not being a properly fluffed magic system makes these sort of questions a unanswerable, which is a problem. It means that there are no guiding principles to limit what magic can achieve, and so strange interactions between effects are limited only by the wording of the description of those effects. In the real world, if we see a perpetual motion machine, we do not need to find the bit of it (or interaction) that fails. We know it will not work because it violates conservation of energy. In DnD world, when a player builds a combination for unlimited power the DM is expected to find the bit or interaction that doesn't work (which can be player mistake, applying RAW out of context, or just plain bad rulemaking creating a loophole), rather than just being able to say it violates a principle of magic, and consequently doesn't work.

More and more I'm thinking that the biggest problem with DnD is the design philosophy. They have created a vast number of features with no thought to how interactions are handled, or consistency in method.

Finally, I realised I had never really looked at black tentacles before, were they high when they wrote that spell?

Wiz:Ok, so I have this spell, black tentacles. 20ft spread there.
DM: ok, area spell, so reflex save.
Wiz: no, no. They appear instantly, before anyone can react.
DM: ok... like a fireball? nevermind. roll SR.
Wiz: no, no. They are conjured and non magical. They grapple everyone it the area
DM: right... roll touch attacks.
Wiz: no, they are magical and hit automatically.
DM: Sure, whatever. Roll grapples.
Wizard rolls and wins.
DM: Ok, how much damage does it do?
Wiz: It only starts doing damage next round.
DM: ok...Have you even read the grapple rules? whatever. The elemental is immune to fire, so the evil sorceror fireballs the tentacles.
Wiz: They are immune to damage.
DM: (long pause)... And you want to put this in the players handbook?

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-05, 07:59 AM
Is there any sensible reason magic interacts with verbal components, or even thoughts?

Well, usually magic is defined as something like "a supernatural force or energy that can be manipulated by ones will" with some amount of leeway in the exact wording. Supernatural isn't a word I've ever been crazy about, even for spiritual things, but in d&d and most fantasy settings magic pretty much does override the standard laws of nature. So supernatural is valid there. So by definition it would have to respond to thought. If it didn't it really wouldn't be possible at all.


Trying to make sense of spell failure chances is a bit more difficult. There are two directions you can go, and neither really works.
First is assuming that casters cannot perform the movements required because armour is too restrictive. Apart from the fact that a chain shirt is not exactly restrictive, casting has no dex requirement. Even if we assume that every caster works within their own dexterity, penalties and ability damage do not affect casting until the character is immobile.
Second is assuming that metals and even hides interfere with the flow of magic involved in loosing a spell. This makes a bit more sense, as magic has to interact with the flesh of the wizard in order for them to control it, but then still spells should not avoid the failure chance. Incidently the interaction between metals and druid magic (metals actually sucking it out) could be just a thing, independent of the 'natural' nature of some metals.
you also still have the "I can carry as much metal as I want as long as I don't use it as armor" problem.


There not being a properly fluffed magic system makes these sort of questions a unanswerable, which is a problem. It means that there are no guiding principles to limit what magic can achieve, and so strange interactions between effects are limited only by the wording of the description of those effects. In the real world, if we see a perpetual motion machine, we do not need to find the bit of it (or interaction) that fails. We know it will not work because it violates conservation of energy. In DnD world, when a player builds a combination for unlimited power the DM is expected to find the bit or interaction that doesn't work (which can be player mistake, applying RAW out of context, or just plain bad rulemaking creating a loophole), rather than just being able to say it violates a principle of magic, and consequently doesn't work.

The problem I have with this, as I've stated before, is that eberron doesn't necessarily want the same fluff as greyhawk, or forgotten realms, so in order to apply to all these settings, fluff needs to be minimal


Mo and more bigges prom with D is the desgn ophy. ave crea a vast nuer of feaures with nthought to hw interions are haed, or coency in meod.

Very possibly.


Finally, I realised I had never really looked at black tentacles before, were they high when they wrote that spell?

Very possibly.




Wiz:Ok, so I have this spell, black tentacles. 20ft spread there.
DM: ok, area spell, so reflex save.
Wiz: no, no. They appear instantly, before anyone can react.
DM: ok... like a fireball? nevermind. roll SR.
Wiz: no, no. They are conjured and non magical. They grapple everyone it the area
DM: right... roll touch attacks.
Wiz: no, they are magical and hit automatically.
DM: Sure, whatever. Roll grapples.
Wizard rolls and wins.
DM: Ok, how much damage does it do?
Wiz: It only starts doing damage next round.
DM: ok...Have you even read the grapple rules? whatever. The elemental is immune to fire, so the evil sorceror fireballs the tentacles.
Wiz: They are immune to damage.
DM: (long pause)... And you want to put this in the players handbook?


ROFL.

jqavins
2014-08-05, 09:02 AM
I'm not really asking for the big book of magic physics here, just a sensible reason magic uses gestures.
OK, how about this: Magical energy flows through all things. There's more in living things, and more yet in mentally aware living things. Normally, this energy moves in random flows and edies with no cumulative effect. But, the gifted can change that. The interaction of the magical energy with the bodies of intelligent beings means that even the slightest motion of their bodies affects the flow. Carefully choreographed small motions, i.e. finger and hand gestures, can establish patters in the energy which grow to create a larger effect.

Bending reality to one's will by twiddling one's fingers makes no more or less sense than bending reality by saying special words or bending it by thinking special thoughts or bending it by mixing newt eyes with toad skin. It's magic, which means it is absolutely required to not make sense.


I've read your argument this thread as "well a lot of stories and stuff use this kind of thing in magic, so d&d absolutely has to as well." I don't really find that sensible, sorry. There are also a lot that don't.
How about "A lot of stories and stuff use this kind of thing in magic, so it's perfectly reasonable that D&D would," or "It's fairly typical in Sword & Sorcery and pseudo-medieval fantasy to use this kind of thing in magic, so it's quite natural that D&D would."

Network
2014-08-05, 11:44 AM
AFAIK, only two D&D settings actually bother to explain why magic works : the Forgotten Realms, where it works because of Mystra and the Weave, and Dark Sun, where it works because there are no gods. In the Forgotten Realms, gestures and incantations could be restrictions put by the goddess of magic. In Dark Sun, gestures actually make more sense than incantations, because spellcasters manipulate energy in a very physical way.

All other D&D settings either do not give any explanation on the origin of magic (Eberron) or give one or two that are explicitely cited as possibly false (Greyhawk, Planescape, Ravenloft). In either case, a setting doesn't need any explanation for the workings of magic, it just has to explain how it works. The last part changes from setting to setting, so if you don't want magic to have somatic components, just create a setting where it doesn't. Greyhawk is not that setting, and neither are any of the others mentioned. This is not different from having magic in Dark Sun drain life energy or having magic in the Scarred Lands generate heat.


Something being common doesn't cause it to make more sense. That is what they call a non-sequitar argument if I recall correctly.
No, that is what they call an argumentum ad populum. Plus, you make a fallacy fallacy here.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-05, 01:43 PM
No, that is what they call an argumentum ad populum. Plus, you make a fallacy fallacy here.

That too. I was thinking the one that means "does not follow."

To the rest of your post, I think where everyone is disagreeing then, is how much fluff should be in the rules system to begin with, and how much should be left out to allow it to be determined by setting. Myself and a few others are arguing that most fluff should be determined by setting and left out of the generic rules, while your position here seems to be that the generic rules should have all the fluff, and settings can change it if they need to?

And Vox rationalis in what I think was his first post in this thread(where he disputed my complaining about barbarian's illiteracy, etc.) seemed (to me) to be saying that the generic rules should include the fluff and any setting that disagrees with said fluff should use a different system.

Edit: no that wasn't the correct post, but here's the actual quote.


Re: Icewolf: Having gestures and words be a crucial part of casting spells is part of the fantasy mythos D&D taps into. It's like the classic "turn your enemies into a frog" kind of spell; it's in there because that's a staple of the genre. You can question it if you wish, but if you insist on breaking genre restrictions too much, you're going to start playing a different game.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-05, 01:49 PM
Bending reality to one's will by twiddling one's fingers makes no more or less sense than bending reality by saying special words or bending it by thinking special thoughts or bending it by mixing newt eyes with toad skin. It's magic, which means it is absolutely required to not make sense.


...people keep saying that. What the heck kind of weird thing to say is that? All something has to do in order to make sense is be logically valid. There's nothing logically invalid about an energy that flows through all things and can be manipulated by ones will.


How about "A lot of stories and stuff use this kind of thing in magic, so it's perfectly reasonable that D&D would," or "It's fairly typical in Sword & Sorcery and pseudo-medieval fantasy to use this kind of thing in magic, so it's quite natural that D&D would."

It's also perfectly valid that it wouldn't though since a lot of stories and stuff don't use gestures for magic.

Pronounceable
2014-08-05, 01:57 PM
Magic works because nanomachines. There's nothing in rulebooks that says it's not nanomachines, therefore magic=nanotechnology. Also the gestures and incantations are for cajoling the Nanohivemind since They're very demanding and won't perform unless persuaded.

Corwin Icewolf
2014-08-05, 02:12 PM
Magic works because nanomachines. There's nothing in rulebooks that says it's not nanomachines, therefore magic=nanotechnology. Also the gestures and incantations are for cajoling the Nanohivemind since They're very demanding and won't perform unless persuaded.

To be honest, I think we're at the point where this argument's pretty much run its course, and everyone's just going on because of mental intertia. I suppose there's still a few things left in it, but it was partially a tangent to begin with.

An attempt to get back fully on topic: Are saves inherently flawed? It's kind of a weird concept that a wizard can cast flesh to stone on you and you can, somehow be like "muhahaha, I'm tough. I'm somehow not going to be stone as a result."

I'm not saying there shouldn't be defenses, though maybe if AC weren't so flawed saves wouldn't be necessary? Not sure. It's hard to think of a way it would cover everything. What's another way fireballs could be resisted anyway?

Stellar_Magic
2014-08-05, 02:40 PM
Overall I prefer passive defenses over saving throws and making the aggressor roll to beat the defense... therefore it feels more the spellcaster failing then the defender somehow beating the spell. (CMB vs. CMD in Pathfinder is a good example of a Passive Defense that works simply and easily).

That's probably one of the few choices that 4E made which made sense to me, but then they trashed just about everything else.

I've run homebrew Pathfinder campaigns where spellcasters needed to make checks against a passive defense (Defense equally Saving throw +10), and it worked alright, but I think that's more just a case of personal choice then anything else.

jqavins
2014-08-05, 03:25 PM
To be honest, I think we're at the point where this argument's pretty much run its course, and everyone's just going on because of mental intertia.
Yes, you're probably right, but...


...people keep saying that. What the heck kind of weird thing to say is that? All something has to do in order to make sense is be logically valid. There's nothing logically invalid about an energy that flows through all things and can be manipulated by ones will.
Obviously, there are at least two definitions of "makes sense" at play. What I meant in this context is that for something to make sense it has to be at least a little bit aligned with reality. Yes, something can be logically valid (by which I assume you mean internally consistant) and also be totally, whackilly misaligned with reality. A magic system must by misaligned with reality. Some magic systems are more internally consistant than others.

Most of the time, I think, when someone says of a particuar aspect of a particular magic system "That doesn't make sense!" it's because "that" is inconsistant not internally but externally, that is, inconsistant with the speaker's preconceptions. From the speaker's point of view, the magic system in some book is combined with the notions of magic in his or her head, making a system that tries to encompas both. That larger system is internally inconsistant, but only because the book system and the speaker's notions are incompatible, not necessarily because the book system is inherrantly flawed.

And now I'm out of momentum.

1pwny
2014-08-05, 04:16 PM
An attempt to get back fully on topic: Are saves inherently flawed? It's kind of a weird concept that a wizard can cast flesh to stone on you and you can, somehow be like "muhahaha, I'm tough. I'm somehow not going to be stone as a result."
Nah, it's more like this (or should be):
Wizard: I wiggle my fingers, access the plane-wide hashmap of spells, and turn you to stone!
Fighter: I clench my muscles o' doom (copyrighted)
Wizard: What does that do?
Fighter: All the stone breaks off as soon as it appears, due to the fact that I can easily make a Strength/Con check that's high enough that it means that my muscles can break stone on top of them.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be defenses, though maybe if AC weren't so flawed saves wouldn't be necessary? Not sure. It's hard to think of a way it would cover everything. What's another way fireballs could be resisted anyway?
Well, in popular supernatural-power culture (a.k.a manga, movies, anime, books), fireballs can be dealt with three ways, two of which mundane.

Mundane: Dodge it! Jump it! Duck it! Side-step it!
Mundane: Block it! Pull up your shield! Cower inside your full plate!
Supernatural: Counter it! Spit water! Make a rock shield! Blow it out of the way!

As I experimented with in my super-quick AC fix on the first page, by fixing AC you could totally manage both mundane ways.

Wardog
2014-08-06, 05:54 PM
And you really don't think that a class called "Barbarian" and described as a warrior from the wilds in a medieval setting deserves illiteracy? Frankly, more classes should be illiterate. This attitude sounds like player entitlement: "If it benefits me, it's RAW and you can't take it away from me; if it restricts me, WotC was high when they wrote it!"

Personally, I think "more classes being illiterate" is part of the problem. In a realistic medieval setting, most classes would probably be illiterate by default. The fact that only one is makes it seem more of an anomaly, and more unfair. Of course, if one class is illiterate, its most likely to be the barbarian, several others could plausibly be so as well.

Conversely, while your generic, common-or-garden thief or soldier or woodsman might well be illiterate, the PC Rogues and Fighters and Rangers etc represent someone above average, so you could equally argue that while most barbarians tribes are illiterate, the Barbarian class represents someone exceptional enough to be literate too.

1pwny
2014-08-07, 04:03 PM
Personally, I think "more classes being illiterate" is part of the problem. In a realistic medieval setting, most classes would probably be illiterate by default. The fact that only one is makes it seem more of an anomaly, and more unfair. Of course, if one class is illiterate, its most likely to be the barbarian, several others could plausibly be so as well.

Conversely, while your generic, common-or-garden thief or soldier or woodsman might well be illiterate, the PC Rogues and Fighters and Rangers etc represent someone above average, so you could equally argue that while most barbarians tribes are illiterate, the Barbarian class represents someone exceptional enough to be literate too.

Maybe. But then again, maybe not. In true medieval times, literacy rates depended on the culture. In common areas of Europe, the only literate ones were priests and kings, they needed to copy the bible and write letters, respectively.

I think literacy was much higher in China at that point, and Mayan literacy wasn't terrible.

But anyway, based on ancient Europe literacy-ness, most classes wouldn't be literate. Maybe some classes that read spellbooks (such as a Wizard), but most classes would be without it. Despite how amazing a European knight was, he probably wouldn't learn to read until he settled down on a big fief. :smallsmile:

VoxRationis
2014-08-07, 07:42 PM
I was going with a European focus, because the default assumed campaign setting is based on Europe, not China or Mesoamerica. People forget that while individual campaign settings are free to challenge the assumptions of the books, the books do make certain assumptions about the "default" setting.